Here are some pointers, covering beginner concepts through to more advanced:
Expect to make mistakes. Losing is learning.
The game can be visually overwhelming when you first encounter it, so don’t worry about trying to think too much. Just start moving pieces and see what happens and you’ll make sense of it soon enough.
At first it looks like a colourful mish-mash, but you will be surprised how quickly you learn to control the game. The more games you play, the more you will get used to its unique mechanics.
Look at all of your options, then decide where to move.
In the first part of your turn you will have to move to the colour your opponent last moved to. See what all of the possible moves are to that colour, then decide which is the best one given the situation.
REMEMBER: You then get a second move as part of your turn, but you cannot move the same piece twice, or move to the same colour twice in your turn.
Think about where you want your opponent to move to
In the second part of your turn, you are free to move to any colour (apart from the one you just moved to).
This is your chance to mess up their position, as they will then have to move to the same colour that you moved to. Look at each colour and imagine your opponent having to move to each of them. Which puts them in the worst position?
Can you leave them with only one possible move on a colour, forcing them to make that move?
Can you leave them with no moves on that colour, forcing them to miss the first part of their turn?
Keep your options open
Try and keep safe options open on every colour to give you choices for your forced move.
Pushing on a colour
By repeatedly moving to the same colour, you can reduce your opponent’s options on that colour and increase the chances of them making a poor forced move. This isn’t always the most subtle of strategies and they may well get wise to your plan and start freeing up that colour.
Be aware that if you push too much on one colour, you might be reducing your options on it as well, so your opponent may later force you on that colour in return.
Set up traps
If you see that your opponent only has one move available on a colour, consider setting up a trap by threatening the empty space first and then forcing them to move there on a later turn, rather than using the colour immediately.
Don’t get rail-roaded
If one colour is giving you trouble, prioritise opening up options on this colour over what would seem like a better positional move. This is better than being repeatedly pushed on the weak colour and losing multiple pieces in the long run.
Don’t panic when you’re in check
Unlike in traditional Chess, in Colour Chess your King has to be captured before you lose the game.
It is fairly normal to remain in check for the first part of your turn, then escape on the second.
In close quarters, use your King to capture the threatening piece, then use another piece to block whatever was protecting what you just captured (watch out for Knights).
Force the King to move into check
When your opponent is short on pieces, focus on making their King move into check rather than putting it in check. If they are forced to move their King into check on the first part of their turn, then it cannot escape on the second part.
Don’t give them a way out of threats
If you use the first part of your turn to threaten a piece, try to avoid giving them a colour that lets them escape with the second part of your turn. That way they have to waste their turn saving their piece, rather than freeing it and then being able to counter.
Watch out for revealed captures
Be careful when they have lined up one of their long-range pieces behind another piece. In subsequent turns, they may be able to move the blocking piece and make a capture with the piece behind all in one turn. Either be careful not to give them the colour they need to move the piece out of the way, or find some other way to block or escape the veiled threat.
When an opponent Pawn makes a double move forward, if it finishes its move adjacent to one of your Pawns you can make a diagonal En Passant capture by moving onto the space behind it.
It doesn’t matter which part of their turn they make the double move on, you are able to make the En Passant capture on either the first or second part of your following turn.
Castling is based on the colour the King moves to. Note that the Rook counts as part of the move, so if you castle in the first part of your turn, you can’t then move the Rook in the second part.
You can reduce your opponent’s options by moving directly in front of one of their Pawns, giving them one less piece and tile to respond with on that colour.
Look at the board at the start of the game: on their side of the board, each player has 5 of each of the six colours, plus an additional two tiles.
Depending on the colours of the additional tiles, across the whole board there will be some colours that are more common and others that are rarer.
Some useful questions to ask yourself:
- Which colour is your opponent weakest on?
- Which colour are you weakest on?
- What colour could you push on? Does this match up with their weakness?
- What can you do about your weakness? Read on!
Match patterns to pieces
Try and match up the arrangement of your weakest colour with the movement pattern of one of your pieces.
eg. if you have two adjacent colour tiles in a corner, once you have made space you can safely move a Rook backwards and forwards along them if your opponent tries to force you on that colour. Or you might have a couple in a diagonal that you can cover with a Bishop.
If there is no discernibly useful pattern, try not to move to that colour unless your opponent forces you to, until you are able to safely gain access to your opponent’s half of the board to use their tiles of that colour.
Conversely, if you see that their weakest colour is heavily protected by a particular piece, you can focus your attack on that piece to make them useless on that colour.
Primary and secondary
Whilst running through colour options, it can be helpful for processing thoughts to divide or associate colours in groups. This allows you to run through them one by one quickly.
eg. Primary (RYB) and secondary (OGP) colours or hot (ROY) and cold (PGB)
Think of your two moves as a whole
This will come with experience.
Capturing with the first piece, then protecting it with the second is a fairly standard manoeuvre.
For advanced play in a timed game, if you are able to plan both moves in your head and then make them in rapid succession, it gives your opponent less thinking time than if you make your first move, think for a while, then make your second.